Monday at sundown marks the start of the Jewish festival of Purim, drawn from the story of Queen Esther and recounting the deliverance of the Jews fromdisaster at the hands of the Persians. As The Jewish Encyclopedia notes, this is the most secular of all holidays--barely registering as "holy"--much like the biblical Book of Esther itself.But Judaism is not so foolish as to pass up a chance to make merry and have fun, and that's what Purim is all about. (With a higher message, of course.) For us, the goyim, it is merriment largely to be enjoyed from the outside. Thoughthanks to a special annual Purim edition of the Jewish weekly, The Forward, we can get a pretty good sense of the high jinks we're missing. E.g.:

"Elders of Zion to Retire: The Elders of Zion, the venerable and shadowy Jewish organization that controls the international banking industry, news media and Hollywood, has announced that it is disbanding so that members can retire to Florida and live out their golden years on the golf course. We had a good run, said one senior Elder, reminiscing over old photographs of world leaders in his musty, wood-paneled office at an undisclosed location. Maybe we ran the world for just a little too long. Anyway, now its Obamas problem.

Other fine entries include "Alex Rodriguez Admits to Kabbalah Use," "Rahm Emanuels Guide to Down-to-Earth Parenting," and "ADL Bestows Honor on Madoff." The reason for that last one: "Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff was re-graced yesterday when the Anti-Defamation League awarded him the Inadvertently Good for the Jews prize for his work in 'demolishing a centuries-old stereotype: that Jews are good with money'." Read the whole megillah here.So do Catholics have anything comparable? (Mardi gras is too much of a serious bacchanal. Boring.) And can I help on the special Commonweal edition?Hat tip: RNS

David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.

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